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Finding placements for the Faculty of Education's graduate and undergraduate student teaching population is a complex process that involves many stakeholders:
- Internships & Student Affairs Office's Placement Coordinators
- ISA Administrator, Officer, and Director
- Field Supervisors
- School Boards and Schools
- School Administrators
- Co-operating Teachers
It is extremely important to note that Student Teachers are prohibited from seeking their own placements. Additionally, B.Ed. students are not permitted to be on a teaching contract during a field placement. In consultation with school boards, it is our position that while McGill teacher candidates are actively engaged in their teacher training, they should be focused on the development of the teaching skills and aptitudes. Being on contract does not allow for the valuable mentorship that is pivotal to their successful development as a teacher.
Placements are NOT done via an automatic system. Placements require the hard work of the ISA's Placement Coordinator team who individually reach out to schools and school boards to request, and then hopefully secure, placements for Student Teachers based on their home address, subject area(s), language(s) spoken, special requests, and other criteria.
Students should take the time early in their degree to familiarize themselves with this process, seek answers to questions, and demystify misconceptions. To speak to a Placement Coordinator, stop by during our counter service hours (Monday to Friday, 9:30-4:00) or contact the appropriate Placement Coordinator.
Field Experiences are linked to EDFE courses in Minerva. Internships are linked to EDIN courses in Minerva. It is the responsibility of each student to register for the appropriate EDFE/EDIN course by any posted deadlines. Students will receive e-mails from the ISA Office to their McGill e-mail accounts providing information about upcoming deadlines. It is vital that students register by the date specified so that the Placement Coordinators know how many student teachers they will have to place in the upcoming academic term(s).
Once registered for an EDFE/EDIN course, students will receive an e-mail from the ISA Office directing them to a link to complete their Placement Form online. This form provides the Placement Coordinators with important information relative to searching for student placements, including whether or not a student has access to a car, is comfortable teaching in French, and whether or not they have friends/family in any schools in the Greater Montreal Area. This form should be completed by the deadline specified so that the Placement Coordinators may begin contacting host schools/school boards.
NOTE FOR MATL STUDENT TEACHERS: If there is a discrepancy between what an MATL student noted in their application to the MATL program compared to what they note in their placement form, the Internships & Student Affairs (ISA) Office will follow up with the student and may defer to the response where the student indicated they are able to teach in French.
Once the form is closed, Placement Coordinators process and organize the information received, and liaise with schools and school boards to find suitable placements. Student teachers are notified of their placement approx. 1-2 weeks before the start date.
Student teachers may NOT request new/different placements, suggest amendments to their assigned placement, or “switch” their placements with other student teachers. The ISA Office will not arrange a different placement and any requests for new placements may have to be delayed, potentially to the next time the placement is offered.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are placement details released 1-2 weeks before the placement, and not much earlier?
ISA Placement Coordinators work for months to find placements for hundreds of student teachers, communicating with schools across and around Montreal. Placement availability and details are not always consistent or readily available, and our office can be notified by schools at any time about new placements, or have previously confirmed placement offers get rescinded. Generally, we only have confirmed details on placements (e.g. which school, which CT, which Supervisors…) 1-2 weeks ahead of the placement start date, and even in this period, we continue to seek and get updates on placements. Rest assured that students are told about their placements as soon as we believe the majority of student teachers have confirmed details that can be confidently released.
2. I made a request but was not placed according to my request; why?
When a student teacher makes a reasonable request for their placement, our Placement Coordinators make every effort to accommodate this request – provided it is not counter to ISA policies, and that there is an appropriate school with a suitable Cooperating Teacher, who is willing to host a student teacher, and that we can arrange for a supervisor for the placement. We trust that student teachers understand and appreciate that our office will try our hardest to accommodate requests, but of course we are subject to the availability and willingness of our partner schools.
FE1 and FE2 requests, in particular, are often difficult to accommodate because they are often done in pairs or cohorts of student teachers and therefore individual preferences may not apply or be possible.
Once the Placement Coordinators have received all data from the Placement Form, they can begin making requests for student teaching placements. The Placement Coordinators aim to place student teachers in order of their stated preference(s) (via the Placement Form) and/or as close to their home address as possible; however, it is important to remember that this is not always feasible.
Please see below for some general placement guidelines:
- Field Experiences/Internships take place in host schools within school boards or private schools in the Greater Montreal Area
- Field Experiences/Internships CANNOT take place in post-secondary settings (i.e. CEGEPs, colleges, universities)
- Student Teachers are placed in English schools (with the exception of TESL students, who are placed in Francophone schools)
- Many English schools in the Greater Montreal Area are French Immersion or bilingual; for this reason, it is important to indicate on the Placement Form one's degree of comfort teaching in French (PIF students are expected to check 'Yes')
- Student Teachers are placed with Co-operating Teachers who have been nominated by their School Administrator to serve as mentors; ISA does not correspond directly with CTs to arrange placements
- Co-operating Teachers must have at least 5 years of prior teaching experience in order to serve as a mentor
To arrange a placement, the Placement Coordinator communicates with the appropriate board or directly with the School Administrator who, in turn, will review the requests that they have received from the school staff to serve as Co-operating Teachers for a given term. If there is a match relative to subject area and teaching load, a placement may be made.
- Students will not be placed in schools where they have relatives (members of the administration, teaching staff, student body and support staff).
- An effort is made to place students within reasonable traveling distance (defined as up to 1.5 hours of travel time each way by the assigned method of transportation) from their address as indicated on Minerva or within reasonable distance from the downtown McGill campus (since students must also be able to travel to campus during this term). However, circumstances vary, and this travel time cannot be guaranteed and may be beyond the 1.5 hours. Students must budget time and money for travel to and from their assigned school. For example, you may choose to seek access to a car, or you may need to purchase a transit pass for a different region.
- Where appropriate, students will be placed in different grades/cycles throughout their program to ensure a variety of experience
- Students in TESL, Music, and Phys. Ed. will do FE3 or FE4 at either the elementary or secondary level and vice-versa (i.e. if FE3 is elementary, FE4 must be secondary)
- Students in the MATL TESL program should do two Internships, one at the elementary level and one at the secondary level - depending on host school availability.
- Students in Music will be placed in any type of Music classroom/program (e.g. Band, Orchestra, Strings, Orff, Wind, etc). Requests may be considered for certain programs; however, Music Education students are expected to do a placement in any Music Education program.
- Students in FE1 are placed in a cohort group with the exception of Physical Education students who are placed in pairs
- Students in any placement may be paired
- *NEW* Students in all B.Ed. programs (except Secondary-English and TESL) and in MATL programs (except Secondary-English and TESL) may request placements in a French school, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis
- Students in the B.Ed. K/Elem PIF program will be placed in a French Immersion classoom (within an English school) for FE3 and FE4, unless they request otherwise in their placement form; however, at least 1 of these placements (FE3 or FE4) must be in a French Immersion classroom. K/Elem PIF students may be placed in an English K/Elem classroom for FE1 or FE2, as need dictates
- Students cannot go to the same host school for FE3 and FE4 (B.Ed.) or IN1 and IN2, unless on contract for one/both Internships (MATL)
- Alternative school placements are permitted for B.Ed. FE2 and FE4, as well as MATL Internship 2; however, the decision about whether to place a student in this context is at the discretion of the ISA Director
- Adult education centre placements are permitted for B.Ed. FE 4, as well as MATL Internship 2; however, the decision about whether to place a student in this context is at the discretion of the ISA Director
- Distance placements (i.e outside of Greater Montreal) are permitted for B.Ed. FE4; MATL Internship students are not eligible to complete distance placements
- ISA staff are committed to nurturing a space, at McGill and in the field, where student teachers, Co-operating Teachers, Supervisors, ISA staff, and other relevant parties can all engage in the exchange of ideas and dialogue, without fear of being made to feel unwelcome or unsafe on account of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race/ethnicity, religion, linguistic and cultural background, age, physical or mental ability, or any other aspect integral to one's personhood and identity. We therefore recognize our responsibility, both individual and collective, to strive to establish and maintain an environment wherein all interactions are based on empathy and mutual respect for the person, acknowledging differences of perspectives, free from judgment, censure, and/or stigma.
- If you, for whatever reason, feel unwelcome, unsafe, or discriminated against during a student teaching placement, please contact your Placement Coordinator or any other member of the ISA team. If you believe a peer or friend is facing any of these challenges, please encourage them to contact us.
- We are here to help!
Students should also review the information below to determine if it applies to their situation.
- Quebec’s Education Act, Section 261.0.2, grants public school boards and private schools the right to verify the judicial record of any person in regular contact with minor students, including Student Teachers. Each board or private school may have its own administrative procedures for judicial record verification and Student Teachers are responsible for informing themselves of and complying with these procedures.
- Student teachers should ensure they inquire about and, if requested, submit a Declaration Concerning a Judicial Record ahead of EACH placement they do.
- Any McGill Student Teacher who fails to obtain the necessary security clearance will not be permitted to undertake their Field Experiences/Internships and, consequently, will be withdrawn from the program as these are a mandatory requirement.
- Links to school board's declaration forms:
- MATL students who would like to use a paid contract for Internship 1 and/or Internship 2 should consult the contract requirements prior to submitting the contract details to the ISA Office for validation.
- In addition to holding a valid study permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), international students require a Co-op/Internship Work Permit.
- Students should apply for this permit well in advance of their Field Experience/Internship as processing times may vary.
- This permit application carries no cost; however, applicants require a medical exam completed by a CIC-certified physician. Failure to do the medical exam will result in a remark that prohibits students from working in primary or secondary schools on their work permit.
- Please visit the International Student Services website for further details and assistance with the application.
- IMPORTANT: Applicants will require a letter from their Faculty certifying that a co-op/internship is a mandatory part of their program. Please write to the following email to request a letter and include your name, student ID number and program:
- B.Ed. students: isa.education [at] mcgill.ca
- MATL students: matl.education [at] mcgill.ca
- The Internships & Student Affairs Office (ISA) operates in accordance with McGill's Guidelines for the Academic Accommodation of Pregnant Students.
- Student Teachers who, because of pregnancy, may not be able to meet the obligations of the Field Experience/Internship are responsible for informing the ISA prior to its start, as well as providing documentation from their medical professional attesting to their scheduled due date and their fitness for the field.
- Student Teachers should contact their Placement Coordinator for further information or to provide supporting documentation.
- In cases where a Student Teacher is unable to complete their Field Experience/Internship, due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related concerns, a meeting will be arranged with the ISA Director and an outcome for the Field Experience/Internship will be determined.
Looking for an exemption from your Field Experience/Internship?
Many newly admitted students enter the B.Ed. Program with prior teaching experience. While such experience adds richness and depth to a student’s experience of their program of study, it is not considered grounds for exemption from any field experience. The Comité d’agrément des programmes de formation à l’enseignement (CAPFE) opposes exemptions from any field experience required as part of a Quebec teacher preparation program.